Paul and Pauline Kermiet


Squares, rounds, contras, international

Paul and Pauline Kermiet - Photo by Rudy Ulibarri

Photo by Rudy Ulibarrí


Paul and Pauline Kermiet Paul J. and Pauline R. Kermiet directed the Lighted Lantern Folk Dance Week from its inception in 1948 until its final week-long camp during the 1977 season. In 1944, a group of five people pooled their money for an initial payment to purchase the title of the old Flying Horse Inn, 22 miles due west of Denver, Colorado. The inn, which included a lodge and four cabins, was situated at 7,460 feet in elevation atop Lookout Mountain at the western edge of the historic town of Golden. The five, Fred Enholm, Pauline Kermiet (Paul was in the service), Lila Parke, Mary Segeuin, and Kathleen Timmons, renamed the old inn "Lighted Lantern." When the day-to-day running of the Inn began to place heavy burdens on Paul and Pauline, the Kermiets began to receive a percentage of the income from fees and rentals.

"Uncle" Paul was one of the premier square dance callers in the United States. He had been an instructor and staff assistant at Steele Community Center in Denver, Colorado, a position that had been interrupted by World War II. At Lighted Lantern, he was known for his skits, especially the one "with one shut eye, mouth awry, one foot held high, and waving goodbye."

Pauline Ritchie Kermiet was a folk singer with the "Singing Ritchies" of Kentucky, a 14-family-member performing group (they have a Folkways record, FA 2316, made in 1959). She is the sister of Jean Ritchie Pickow, "The Mother of Folk" (of the "Singing Ritchies"). Pauline also had been a staff assistant and volunteer at Steele.

The Kermiet Family The Kermiets had six children (Chris, Johnny, Karen, Kathy, Paula, and Mary Evelyn), all of whom were born and raised in the Lighted Lantern camp atmosphere and, as they became old enough, assumed some of the responsibilities of operating the camp. The children all dance and sing, too. Chris Kermiet became a leading caller in his own right, calling contras, traditional squares, English country dances, and Celtic ceili dances in the Denver, Colorado, area. Evelyn and Karen became modern dancers and choreographers, and performed at Denver’s Changing Scene Theatre with Maxine Munt and Al Brooks. Paula, the youngest, was a founding member of the Colorado Friends of Old Time Music and Dance, and did square dance calling for the group in Boulder. Paula Kermiet Connolly is a long-time square dance caller in the Denver area and makes corn husk dolls, an art learned from her aunts Mallie Ritchie, Kitty Richie Singleton, and May Ritchie Deschamp.

Pauline Ritchie Kermiet died on February 9, 1980 due to cancer.